Former Newcastle and Sunderland striker Michael Chopra says he has unfinished business with the Indian Super League (ISL) and wants to make the most of the opportunity to set the wrongs right.
The striker who represented England at the junior level and played for a number of English teams, including Premier League side Sunderland, came to India and played for Kerala Blasters in the inaugural 2014 season.
But Chopra’s time was cut short after he sustained an injury during a training match against Atletico de Kolkata, which saw his fitness level and ability come under heavy criticism in the press.
“I think there were a few things that went wrong; I underestimated the ISL. I thought it was going to be easier than it was, and then I picked up a hamstring injury in pre-season which set me back,” he said.
“When I was due to play against Atletico de Kolkata, I picked up a really bad ankle injury that should have kept me out of the ISL, but I was determined to try and play my part in the semifinals and final. I played through pain. It still haunts me to this day how the Kolkata goalkeeper made that save in the last five minutes,” said Chopra.
After Chopra’s disastrous start, none of the eight ISL clubs would touch him the following season. But Kerala Blasters have given him another chance for the start of their forthcoming campaign and Chopra wants to make the most of this opportunity, proving his fitness by spending the last three weeks in intense training with Pune outfit DSK Shivajians.
The 32-year-old also hopes to represent India, something he is eligible for since his grandparents moved from Jalandhar to England during the 1950’s and is willing to surrender his British passport, to do so.